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What Are the Different Causes of Chronic Gas?

Chronic gas symptoms begin with abdominal cramping and discomfort.
Irritable bowel syndrome may cause a person to experience symptoms of gas.
Wheat bran can cause gas.
Stomach pain may lead to chronic gas.
Smoking cigarettes can cause an intake of excess air, which leads to chronic gas.
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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2014
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Chronic gas is caused by a variety of issues, such as bacteria in the intestines, certain dietary choices and swallowing too much air. Irritable bowel syndrome may also cause a person to experience symptoms of gas, as might certain prescription medications used to treat an unrelated illness. While stomach gas is a normal occurrence, chronic gas is caused by an abnormality that needs to be addressed.

A normal person will experience flatulence an average of 14 to 20 times each day. Such is considered a normal amount of gas for both women and men. Individuals experiencing the symptoms of gas more than this amount for a prolonged period of time, however, may have chronic gas.

A certain amount of bacteria in the large intestines is normal. Generally, stomach bacterium derives from the breakdown of foods inside the stomach. When bacteria reach an abnormal level, however, chronic gas is often the result.

Certain food types are known to elevate bacterium levels in the stomach under certain circumstances. Foods that produce excess bacterium include carbohydrates, certain types of sugars, dairy products and certain insoluble fibers, such as wheat bran. When these foods enter the large intestine for further processing, they often produce malodorous excessive gas symptoms.

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The symptoms of chronic gas typically include stomach pain, cramps and bloating. A primary sign of excessive gas, however, is chronic flatulence. Upon identifying and addressing the cause of excessive gas, chronic flatulence usually disappears.

Swallowing too much air is a common cause of chronic gas. Generally, this is the result of cigarette smoking, gum chewing or eating too fast. While most air swallowed is relieved through belching, air in the stomach sometimes makes its way to the large intestine. Chronic behaviors that cause this type of gas also contribute to chronic flatulence.

Chronic gas may also be a sign of an underlying condition or illness. For instance, individuals with problems absorbing carbohydrates are more likely to develop symptoms of excessive gas. Also, individuals with a condition known as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease will likely experience stomach pain and bloating.

A buildup of a particular type of bacteria, known as Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers, will also cause chronic gas symptoms. While most stomach bacteria are gained through the diet, this particular strain of bacteria may be passed between people. Researchers also believe that this bacterium increases a person’s risk of developing stomach cancer later in life.

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Discuss this Article

SarahGen
Post 6

I have a wheat intolerance. Wheat causes major gas and bloating for me, in addition to stomach cramps and diarrhea. I just can't digest it. I have no problems when I avoid wheat.

burcinc
Post 5

@simrin-- I'm guessing that you're on anti-diabetic medication? Anti-diabetic medication causes gas problems. It is listed as a common symptom and unfortunately, there is no treatment for it. It's one of things we have to deal with as diabetics to be able to keep our blood sugar in control.

I think that we experience more gas after diagnosis also because we switch to a diabetic diet. I personally eat way more vegetables, beans and complex carbohydrates since I found out I'm diabetic. All of these foods tends to cause gas, so it's normal.

You can take medications for gas to try and decrease the side effects of anti-diabetic medications but that's basically all that can be done.

SteamLouis
Post 4

I never had gas issues (except when I ate legumes) before I became a diabetic. Ever since I was diagnosed with type two diabetes, I feel like I have gas and bloating all the time. It's very annoying and embarrassing.

Has anyone else experienced this from diabetes? Is there something I can do?

bythewell
Post 3

@pastanaga - Well, there is a way in which you can get someone to release gas which might have built up in their stomach, causing them some pain. It requires you to be a very good friend, however.

What you do is get the person to lie on their back and draw their bent knees up to their chest.

Then, the good friend gets into the "firing line" so to speak, and leans on the legs, pressing them into the stomach. They might bounce a few times as well(not so that they are causing pain, just putting pressure on the stomach).

This is almost guaranteed to get rid of any gas that might have been causing stomach pain. Unfortunately, it will be released onto the kind friend.

pastanaga
Post 2

@Fa5t3r - To me, the main problem with chronic gas isn't the social stigma, although that can be annoying, it's the abdominal pain that invariably comes with it.

It can be really sharp and distressing and it seems almost impossible to get rid of it until the gas works its way out naturally.

I had a friend once who was convinced he was in the middle of an appendicitis attack, the pain was so great. He was rushed to hospital, only to be told that it was gas and nothing more.

And believe me, no one would choose that kind of embarrassment, unless they were convinced that they were dying from the pain.

Fa5t3r
Post 1

Foods like beans often get blamed for chronic gas, but I read a study recently that showed that only a few people will get more gas if they eat beans.

For most people, eating foods that are high in fiber might cause gas at first, but eating them regularly should actually make you less gassy, since it will establish good bacteria in your gut. This is particularly true of green, leafy vegetables, which have a lot of fiber and vitamins.

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